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The GLC’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Outback doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The GLC offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Outback only offers a rear monitor.
Both the GLC and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLC its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Outback has not been tested, yet.
The GLC comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Outback’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLC third among compact premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Outback isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.
The GLC’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 73 more horsepower (255 vs. 182) and 97 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 176) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.
For better stopping power the GLC’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:
For better traction, the GLC has larger standard tires than the Outback (235/60R18 vs. 225/65R17). The GLC’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (255/45R20 vs. 225/65R17).
The GLC’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outback Base/Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The GLC’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLC has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback Base/Premium. The GLC’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the GLC can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Outback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The GLC offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The GLC has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLC’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Outback doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
The GLC has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outback doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
The GLC’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Outback doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLC’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the Outback (113.1 inches vs. 108.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLC is 2 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the Outback.
The GLC is 8 inches shorter than the Outback, making the GLC easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLC’s rear seats recline. The Outback’s rear seats don’t recline.
The GLC’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outback’s (3500 vs. 2700 pounds).
The GLC uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Outback uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.
The GLC has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Outback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Outback Limited/Touring, the GLC offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The GLC offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Outback doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The power windows standard on both the GLC and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLC is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outback prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.
The GLC’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Outback’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
If the windows are left open on the GLC the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The GLC’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Outback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the GLC to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Outback doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the GLC to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Outback doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.
The GLC’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
The GLC has a standard dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air-conditioning is only available on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
Both the GLC and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the GLC has available rear air-conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback doesn’t offer rear air-conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The GLC has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Outback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The GLC’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Outback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The GLC is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Motor Trend selected the GLC as their 2017 Sport Utility of the Year. The Outback has never been chosen.
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